Archive for the General Amusement Park News Category

AMUSEMENT RIDE SAFETY AND G-FORCES

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011 | Permalink

iaapa.org

G-forces refer to the force of gravity, and one G is equal to the normal pull of earth’s gravity on the body. Amusement ride designers have collected and studied relevant data on g-forces for years, subsequently applying this biodynamic knowledge to the design, manufacture and construction of rides. While technological advances have led to the development of faster and more thrilling rides, overall g-force levels have not dramatically changed in the past two to three decades because riders’ tolerance levels have not changed.

When discussing the effects of g-forces on a person who is on a ride, one must consider the duration of the g-force, as well as a multitude of other variables. When it comes to the higher–g sections of amusement rides, exposure often lasts fractions of a second. Therefore, the rider does not experience any adverse effects because the force is extremely brief. Blackouts and other health issues associated with Gs require exposure to g-forces which are either greater in magnitude or of much longer duration than those achieved by today’s amusement rides.

A study by Murray Allen, MD, Ian Weir-Jones, P. Eng, Ph.D., and several other doctors and engineers was published in the November 1994 edition of Spine. The study “found that in one event of daily activity, the vector acceleration of 10.4 g was experienced uneventfully.” We go through our everyday lives with our bodies exposed to far greater gravitational pull than that of any amusement park ride; we just don’t realize it, or even think about it.

Examples of everyday gravitational forces:

Sneeze 2.9
Cough 3.5
Crowd jostle 3.6
Slap on back 4.1
Hop off step 8.1
Plop down in chair 10.1

REALITY:

No fewer than five independent scientific reviews have comprehensively analyzed the issue of amusement ride g-forces, and all five have reached the same conclusion: the rotational accelerations experienced by the head during rides pose no risk of brain injury to the general populace.
We welcome this science-based work, in place of the random anecdotal accounts that had previously dominated the debate over this issue.
It is clear from this thorough analysis that a focus simply and strictly on the matter of g-forces or height or speed is wholly inadequate when discussing the physical experience of riding a roller coaster or any other ride.
Instead, the interaction between ride and rider is a complex one, yet these reviews have authoritatively demonstrated that the dynamic characteristics of that interaction are far below even the minimum levels associated with brain injury.
Amusement ride manufacturers have collected and studied relevant data on g-forces for years, subsequently applying this biodynamic knowledge to the design and construction of rides to make them as safe as possible.
While technological gains have led to the development of bigger rides, overall g-force levels have generally not changed that much in the past two or three decades because riders’ tolerance levels haven’t changed – people are the same today as they were in 1970.
Instead, the very technological and design improvements which have allowed for a more thrilling and faster ride have simultaneously helped produce an even safer ride in all aspects, including Gs.
Additionally, ASTM International has now incorporated g-force limits into its ride safety standards that guide the amusement industry. The ASTM process is the most appropriate one for the task, given the independent organization’s 30-plus-year history in developing this exacting set of standards in partnership with the industry, consumer groups, and government entities.
A key point to remember about this issue is that equally important to the magnitude of g-forces is their rate of onset and their duration, as well as a multitude of other variables. When it comes to the higher-g sections of amusement rides, exposure lasts but a few seconds at most, and often fractions of a second, so before a rider feels any adverse effect, the force is already past.
In marked contrast, blackouts and other health matters associated with Gs require exposure to g-forces which are either greater in magnitude or of much longer duration than those achieved by today’s rides.

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AMUSEMENT PARK RIDE: SAFETY, DESIGN AND TECHNOLOGY

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011 | Permalink

iaapa.org

Technological progress has continually transformed the way we live, work, and play for hundreds of years, particularly in the last half-century. These changes have affected every aspect of life, including the attractions industry and its amusement rides.

While the design and development of amusement rides has always required a mastery of physics, engineering, and mathematics, the introduction of computers, advanced materials, and certain design innovations has resulted in an increasingly rigorous, complex, and precise creative process. This process, together with the current regulatory system of state oversight and internal and external inspections, has produced an extraordinary safety record that demonstrates amusement rides are one of the safest forms of recreation available to the public.

Today’s ride designers are building upon the solid foundation laid by prior generations, as a considerable amount of both equipment and ideas is based on time-tested technological principles and breakthroughs. For years, rides have included fail-safe defaults, which ensure that, in the case of a power outage or other external event, vehicles come to rest in a safe position and remain there until passengers are evacuated according to a pre-arranged plan or the ride is re-started.

Additionally, rides have long been equipped with redundant safety mechanisms in critical areas, which provide a backup in case of failure of the primary system. Likewise, many ride aspects have historically been “over designed” so that they contain safety features and construction material over and above what is structurally necessary. More recent advances have allowed the industry to use this experience as a springboard to creating new rides and attractions.

Perhaps the most crucial of these advances is the computer and its far-reaching impact on ride design, manufacture, and operation. Designers employ modeling software to manipulate a large number of elements quickly and easily, thus optimizing a ride’s final layout and providing a complete analysis of its performance, structural integrity, and g-force parameters. In addition, computer-based manufacturing techniques have made the fabrication of various ride and attraction components even more technically precise. Computers have also played a key role in the continual improvement of ride operation, as park personnel use central control units and numerous high-tech sensors to constantly monitor all aspects of a ride. Consequently, mid-ride adjustments, activation of themed elements, and automatic system shutdowns occur faster and more accurately than ever before.

Incorporation of advanced materials has led to new ride developments as well. Coasters are still exploring the possibilities that were opened to them with the advent of tubular steel tracks and polyurethane wheels. The use of lightweight fiberglass and plastics has contributed to the improvement of various rides and attractions, including carousels, animatronics, and bumper cars. Several types of thrill rides, especially coasters, employ vibration-dampening material to provide structural enhancement.

Design innovations have also spurred ride advances. “Locking” coasters on the track via a three-wheeled device (top, side, & bottom) has produced a whole new world of twists, turns, and inversions. Modern catapult-type launch systems powered by pneumatics and linear electric motors have expanded the creative options available to many ride manufacturers. The integration of special effects, motion simulation, and/or theming within ride environments has resulted in a wider array of experiences.

Above all, this tradition of continual improvement has greatly enhanced ride safety, through the introduction of force reactive supports, headrests, comfort padding, seat dividers, ratcheted restraints, computer controls, and magnetic braking systems.

Both established ride features and more recent innovations have been incorporated into the ASTM International ride safety standards. For more than three decades, the industry has worked with the ASTM Committee F-24 on Amusement Rides and Devices in the development of these exacting voluntary standards. The committee is composed of members of the industry, representatives of the general public, and government entities such as the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Where applicable, biodynamic data is incorporated into the development process, thereby producing ride system guidelines which can safely accommodate the broadest segment of the population. The ASTM International standards undergo frequent review and revision to keep up with the latest technologies, and have been adopted by state and local jurisdictions throughout the country.

With their predecessors’ time-tested knowledge and the ASTM standards at their disposal, modern-day ride designers have employed this steady stream of advances to create new and unique attractions which are more thrilling yet safe in all respects. These thrills often derive from the use of dynamic forces that are commonly referenced to gravity and thus called g-forces (Gs). Ride manufacturers have collected and studied relevant data on g-forces for years, subsequently applying this biodynamic knowledge to the design and construction of rides to ensure a safe experience.

While technological gains have led to the development of bigger rides, overall g-force levels have generally not changed that much in the past two or three decades because riders’ tolerance levels haven’t changed – people are the same today as they were in 1970. Instead, the very technological and design improvements which have allowed for a more thrilling and faster ride have simultaneously helped produce an even safer ride in all aspects, including Gs.

A key point to remember regarding this issue is that equally important to the magnitude of g-forces is their rate of onset and their duration, as well as a multitude of other variables. When it comes to the higher-g sections of amusement rides, exposure lasts but a few seconds at most and often fractions of a second, so before a rider feels any adverse effect, the force is already past. In marked contrast, blackouts and other health matters associated with Gs require exposure to g-forces which are either greater in magnitude or of much longer duration than those achieved by today’s rides.

As the guardian of this special history, the industry remains committed to providing guests with new and safe experiences in a responsible and professional manner.

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ROLLER COASTER LOOPHOLE SURVIVES COMMITTEE DEBATE, MARKEY SECURES HEARING FOR ISSUE

Thursday, May 26th, 2011 | Permalink

markey.house.gov

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This afternoon, the House Energy and Commerce Committee voted against closing a dangerous safety loophole that places fixed-site amusement park rides outside the jurisdiction of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA) has introduced legislation every Congress since 1999 to restore CPSC’s authority over fixed-site rides and offered an amendment to that effect today during committee consideration of H.R. 4040, the Consumer Product Safety Modernization Act. Though his amendment failed by a vote of 10 in favor and 25 opposed, Rep. Markey secured a promise for the first-ever congressional hearing devoted to this subject.

“While I am disappointed by today’s vote, I am pleased that my colleagues have realized this issue warrants the attention of a congressional hearing. For too long, Congress has ignored the roller coaster loophole, preventing the CPSC from investigating accidents on thrill rides that hurtle children at speeds approaching 100 miles per hour.

“The CPSC lacks the authority to require park operators to share information about an accident with operators of the same ride in other states. This makes no sense whatsoever,” said Rep. Markey.

While the amusement park industry has fought hard against closing this loophole, yesterday Rep. Markey released a letter from a former senior executive in the amusement park industry who expressed support for Rep. Markey’s efforts to close the loophole.

Jim Prager, a former industry senior executive and board member of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), the trade association of the amusement park ride industry, was closely involved in the successful efforts to exempt fixed-site amusement rides from CPSC jurisdiction in 1981 and again in 1984. In his letter he stated that:

“Insurance programs mandated by states or maintained by the operating amusement park companies are often touted as assuring ride safety but many of these programs have gaping holes rendering the programs essentially meaningless. Some state licensing or inspection programs were created to serve not the public, but the industry, providing an illusory aura of safety.”

“The cost-cutting of the last 25 years has reduced the industry capacity for safety,” Mr. Prager added. “I now believe that I was wrong 25 years ago and that the industry should be regulated.”

“As a former industry executive involved in the successful effort to exempt fixed-site rides from CPSC authority in 1981 and again in 1984, Mr. Prager’s comments should be a clarion call to raise awareness about the need to close this dangerous loophole now. Until now, the industry line has been that federal oversight is not needed, but as Mr. Prager observes, self-regulation and a patchwork of state regulations are not enough to prevent tragic accidents from occurring,” Rep. Markey said.

The nation’s leading safety agency, the CPSC, oversees the safety of carnival (“mobile”) rides, but is prohibited from overseeing the safety of park (“fixed-site”) rides. Rep. Markey is seeking to ensure that the CPSC has the authority to investigate accidents, develop and enforce plans to correct defects and act as a national clearinghouse for accident and defect data.

Rep. Markey’s efforts have been endorsed by Consumers Union, the Consumer Federation of America, the National SAFE KIDS Campaign, Saferparks.org, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group and Kids in Danger.

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Markey: Amusement Park Ride Safety Loophole Must Be Closed

Thursday, May 26th, 2011 | Permalink

markey.house.gov

WASHINGTON – Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA) today reiterated his call for Congress close a dangerous loophole in federal safety regulation of fixed-site theme park rides, as the Kentucky Department of Agriculture released the findings of its investigation into the June 2007 accident at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom in which Kaitlyn Lasitter’s feet were severed due to a malfunction while she was riding the “Superman Tower of Power.”

“When it comes to amusement park safety, parents are the ones taken for a ride when they assume all rides are subject to the same safety regulations. The unfortunate truth is that the federal government is actually prevented from taking action to keep fixed-site rides safe, leaving a gigantic ‘regulatory black hole’ for park visitors, raising the risk of more serious injuries and even deaths aboard the rides,” said Rep. Markey.

“Tragic accidents like the one suffered by Kaitlyn Lasitter at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom deserve investigation by the federal consumer safety agency which can develop action plans to ensure that when an accident happens, additional safety measures are implemented at similar rides across the country. Instead, right now the Consumer Product Safety Commission lacks even the authority to require park operators to share information about an accident with operators of the same ride in other states. This makes no sense whatsoever.”

An existing loophole in federal law specifically prohibits the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), our nation’s leading safety agency, from overseeing the safety of amusement park rides (so-called “fixed-site” rides). Last year, Rep. Markey reintroduced the National Amusement Park Ride Safety Act, H.R. 2320, legislation that would close this loophole.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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Thinkwell Partner Foresees the Evolution of Virtual and Location-Based Experiences for Leading Consumer Brands

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011 | Permalink

Today at the TRANSMEDIA, HOLLYWOOD 2: Visual Culture and Design industry symposium, co-hosted by UCLA and USC, Craig Hanna, chief creative officer, Thinkwell Group, forecasted significant growth in virtual and location-based themed experiences for leading consumer brands. The event, attended by leading media creators, designers and industry executives, focused on the re-imagination of the entertainment business. Hanna predicts that the convergence of on- and offline virtual worlds will grow outside of Hollywood.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg. I envision the creation of many corporate environments that will combine themed in-person experiences with extensions to and from the digital world.”

Hanna, who has nearly 25 years of experience in the creation of compelling experiences and environments for some of the world’s leading entertainment companies, stated that although corporate pavilions and brand expos have been around since the 1940s, he envisions a future where consumer brands will increasingly create large-scale special exhibitions and branded environments to showcase their company and products and reach their targeted consumer groups.

“Some consumer brands have already created guest experiences, such as The World of Coke in Atlanta, Sega Joypolis in Tokyo and M&M’s World in Las Vegas,” he said. “This is just the tip of the iceberg. I envision the creation of many corporate environments that will combine themed in-person experiences with extensions to and from the digital world.”

When panelists were asked about the challenges associated with creating experiences that tell a complex story but may only last a matter of minutes, Hanna noted that when dealing with Hollywood IPs for which people already have an understanding and affinity, the consumer’s previous experience with the story adds the necessary context. He also commented on the changing interests of the younger generation in particular, stating that people have an affinity for and deeper connection to products and therefore corporations have an opportunity to tap into immersive storytelling and worldbuilding.

Hanna was joined on the panel by some of the industry’s most notable creative executives and thought leaders, including Scott Bukatan, Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies, Stanford University (Matters of Gravity: Special Effects and Supermen in the 20th Century); Rick Carter, Production Designer (Avatar, A.I.); Dylan Cole, Art Director (Avatar, Alice in Wonderland, Tron); Thierry Coup, Art Designer (Wizarding World of Harry Potter); Angela Ndalianis, Associate Professor and Head of the Cinema Studies Program at the University of Melbourne, Australia (Neo-Baroque Aesthetics and Contemporary Entertainment); and Bruce Vaughn, Chief Creative Executive, Disney Imagineering (Tron, Pirates of the Caribbean, Toy Story).

About Thinkwell Group

Thinkwell, celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, is a full-service experiential design and development firm that collaborates with its clients to envision, strategize and create immersive, one-of-a-kind guest experiences. Thinkwell develops and produces attractions, master plans, brand experiences, exhibits, live shows, environments, multimedia and digital integration. The company has become a leader in experiential design by bringing a unique holistic approach to every creative engagement, delivering extraordinary results to notable clients over the years, including Fortune 500 companies, studios, museums, theme parks and destination resorts.

Thinkwell’s range of work includes master planning for Warner Bros., Universal, MGM and Paramount as well as attractions such as Sesame Street Presents: The Body, Universal 360 – A Cinesphere Spectacular; the Show at the Pier Shops at Caesar’s Atlantic City; and the Snow Play Zone at Ski Dubai. Thinkwell is based in Burbank, CA, with offices in Dubai UAE.

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Park Games Equipment (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd Latest Launch: Accessible Play Series

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011 | Permalink

fig1&2: Overall ACP concept

Our overall “Accessible Play” Park Development Concept includes the main play structure (fig3) which provides a wide wheel-chair accessible ramp, interesting independent items which allow for team play (fig4-6), simple exercise equipments, a run-around-trail with meeting points, educational, play and music panels (fig7), and a play table (fig8) which children can bring along their favorite toys to play in!

fig3: Accessible Play Equipment

fig4: Touch & Go Flags

fig5: Football Maze

fig6: Maze Play

fig7: Braille, Play & Music Panels

fig8: Themed Play Table

With these new items, we hope to make the parks and enjoyable meeting place for everyone, and encourage healthy physical and mental growth among children.

From the Management and Staff of PGE, Best wishes.

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U.S. Parks and Attractions to Unveil Exciting New Experiences in Time for Summer

Friday, April 8th, 2011 | Permalink

iaapa.org

February 28, 2011 – Parks and attractions throughout the United States will debut multimillion-dollar rides and attractions to entertain all ages this summer. From innovative roller coasters, towering swing rides, and exhilarating waterslides to saltwater adventures, family-friendly exhibits, and spectacular shows, there is something for the entire family to enjoy.

“Amusement parks from the Carolinas to the California coast are preparing to open hundreds of millions of dollars of thrilling new attractions for families to enjoy,” said Susan Mosedale, executive vice president and interim chief operating officer of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA). “Ingenuity and excitement drive our industry and this year families will experience both in everything from entirely new parks to amazing new rides and waterslides.”

More than 300 million people visit U.S. amusement parks annually and contribute more than $57 billion to the nation’s economy. Each year IAAPA, the worldwide trade association for the attractions industry, provides a preview of what’s new at amusement parks, waterparks, and attractions in the United States. Here are some of the new attractions opening this summer:

Entirely New Destinations:

In June, Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in McMinnville, Ore., opens Evergreen Wings & Waves Waterpark. Guests enjoy nearly 70,000 square feet of educational fun, including four waterslides, a wave pool, and a children’s museum dedicated to teaching students about the power of water. Visitors learn about the importance of water and its impact on society through dozens of interactive exhibits and learning experiences. www.evergreenmuseum.org
A rendering is available at www.iaapa.org/pressroom/WhatsNewImages2011.asp.

The 150-acre Legoland Florida theme park opens this fall in Winter Haven, Fla., and features more than 50 rides, Lego models, and other family-oriented; interactive elements. Visitors choose from 10 different lands, including Fun Town, Miniland USA, Land of Adventure, Lego City, Imagination Zone, and Duplo Village. The park is located on the site of Cypress Gardens, Florida’s first theme park. www.LEGOLANDFloridaResort.com

In July, Sea Life Aquarium opens in Grapevine, Texas, features Texas marine life as well as aquatic creatures from around the world. The 45,000-square-foot, two-story facility includes an auditorium with a glass floor and a 360-degree glass tunnel surrounded by sharks and other sea life.
Action-Packed Rides and Attractions Fill Amusement Parks:

Alabama Adventure in Bessemer, Ala., adds “BuzzSaw Falls.” Riders plunge down a five-story chute in a flume creating a spectacular splash that sends walls of water shooting in the air soaking both riders and onlookers. www.alabamaadventure.com

Bay Beach Amusement Park in Green Bay, Wis., adds the 2,500-foot-long roller coaster “Zippin Pippin.” The 90-second ride takes guests over several hills with drops as high as 70 feet at speeds up to 40 miles per hour. http://baybeach.org

“Cheetah Hunt,” a launch-style roller coaster, opens at Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay, Fla. The coaster propels riders from 0 to 60 mph in a matter of seconds three different times during the ride. Riders dive 130 feet into a subterranean trench, fly above a simulated Serengeti plain and speed through an artificial canyon. In addition, a new habitat area, “Cheetah Run,” allows guests to view cheetahs through oversized windows, watch daily cheetah sprints, and use interactive touchscreens to learn about the amazing animal. www.buschgardens.com/bgt/default.aspx

Canobie Lake Park in Salem, N.H., launches the compact Euro-Fighter roller coaster “Untamed.” Grizzly-bear-themed cars take riders up a 75-foot incline to a beyond-verticle drop curving in at 97 degrees before experiencing a compact series of banked curves, loops, twists, turns, and zero-gravity rolls. www.canobie.com
A rendering is available at www.iaapa.org/pressroom/WhatsNewImages2011.asp.

Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, unveils “Windseeker.” Riders spin nearly 30 stories above the Lake Erie shoreline in two-person swings that allow riders’ feet to dangle. They rotate slowly in a circular motion as the swings ascend the tower. At the top, the swings spin at speeds between 25-30 mph, flaring out almost 45 degrees from the tower. www.cedarpoint.com

Discovery Cove in Orlando debuts a new saltwater environment, “Grand Reef.” The 2.5-acre reef has white-sand beaches, underwater grottoes, and a palm tree-lined island. Guests, outfitted in a wetsuit and breathing apparatus, take a “SeaVenture” underwater walking tour along a path 10 feet below the surface through schools of tropical fish and past a million-gallon aquarium with 125 species of fish, rays, and sharks. www.discoverycove.com

Disney California Adventure in Anaheim, Calif., debuts, “The Little Mermaid ‒ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure” as part of a multiyear billion-dollar expansion of the park. The family-friendly dark ride features characters from the popular movie and guests travel in vehicles shaped like clam shells on a simulated underwater journey. http://disneyland.disney.go.com/disneys-california-adventure/

“Barnstormer” opens at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. The swing ride has two pendulum arms that seat 16 passengers each. The swing takes riders progressively higher reaching a peak of 81 feet in the air. The 60-second ride travels 45 mph and has a 230-degree rotation. A barnyard-themed play area and pig pen water play area surround the ride. www.dollywood.com
Images are available at www.dollywood.com/pressroom.html.
B-roll is available from the park upon request.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla., debuts “Disney Junior – Live on Stage!” Popular characters come to life with captivating puppets, bright visuals, whimsical scenery, and catchy songs. Preschoolers join the gang from Disney Junior shows like “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse,” “Handy Manny,” and “Little Einsteins” to dance, sing, and play. Older kids can join mom and dad on the remodeled “Star Tours” attraction that features new interstellar routes in the Star Wars galaxy and 3-D destinations. http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/parks/hollywood-studios/
Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari in Santa Claus, Ind., introduces “Rudolph’s Round-Up.” This one-of-a-kind family-friendly ride allows older siblings and parents to ride along with smaller children, who can control how high their sleigh will rise as Rudolph takes flight. After dark, the ride lights up, including Rudolph’s red nose.www.HolidayWorld.com

Kings Island in Mason, Ohio, adds “WindSeeker.” As many as 64 riders in two-person gondolas slowly rotate as they ascend 301 feet in the air. At the top, the swings flare out at a 45-degree angle and spin, reaching speeds up to 30 mph. www.visitkingsisland.com

Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, Calif., opens “WindSeeker,” which features 32 two-person gondolas that climb a 301-foot tower. Once at the top, the ride spreads its arms and swings riders for 60 seconds at a 45 degree angle and 8 rotations per minute. www.knotts.com

Lake Compounce in Bristol, Conn., delivers “Rev-O-Lution.” Riders sit in motorcycle-like seats that face outward as they spin, twist, and rock back and forth a long a track. www.lakecompounce.com.
A rendering is available at www.iaapa.org/pressroom/WhatsNewImages2011.asp.
Images available from the park upon request.

Lagoon Park in Farmington, Utah, unveils its ninth roller coaster, “Bombora.” This family-friendly ride allows parents to enjoy the coaster with their children. www.lagoonpark.com/attractions/rides

Legoland California in Carlsbad, Calif., adds “Star Wars Miniland.” Guests retrace the major events of the Star Wars saga, through scenes made of 1.5 million Lego bricks. Guests can also pose with life-size Lego models of Chewbacca, and Darth Vader. Interactive buttons allow children to start animations throughout the scenes. www.legoland.com
Morey’s Surfside Pier in North Wildwood, N.J. unveils “it.” This spinning swing ride takes guests to heights of 65 feet above the ground. www.MoreysPiers.com
Pirates Voyage replaces Dixie Stampede in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The 300,000-square-foot arena includes a 750,000-gallon, 15-foot-deep indoor lagoon, three pirate ships, interactive show elements, and a 35,000-gallon outside animal habitat. The Pirates Lair and Crow’s Nest provide interactive experiences for guests before they move into the main arena. Guests enjoy a five-course feast as the pirates battle one another in a show that consists of more than two dozen aerialists, divers, dancers, and singers. www.piratesvoyage.com
“The Wooden Warrior,” a 1,200-foot-long wooden roller coaster, debuts at Quassy Amusement Park in Middlebury, Conn. The three-car train reaches a top speed of 35 mph and takes riders down a 40-foot drop and through an enclosed L-shaped turn-around tunnel. www.quassy.com
“Turtle Reef” opens at SeaWorld San Diego in California. The nearly 300,000-gallon aquarium features an underwater viewing window and allows guests to get an up-close look at more than 60 threatened or endangered sea turtles. “Turtlelink,” a touchscreen map that teaches guests about sea turtle tracking, rescue efforts, and conservation. Just outside the aquarium is “Riptide Rescue,” which takes up to 24 guests in 12 gondola-style, open-top designed airboats on a rescue mission as the vehicle swings around a central arm. Also new this year is a new sketch-based comedy show starring two sea lions, “Sea Lions Live.” www.seaworld.com/sdpressroom
An image and rendering is available at www.iaapa.org/pressroom/WhatsNewImages2011.asp.
B-roll is available from the park upon request.
Silver Dollar City adds “Half Dollar Holler” in Branson, Mo. This super-sized play area for kids up to age 7 has treetop fun houses, climbing nets, box crawls, slides, mini-wave swings, and truckloads of sand for play. At the center is the updated hand-carved carousel featuring woodland creatures. www.silverdollarcity.com

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, Calif., unveils a 150-foot tower ride, “SkyScreamer.” Riders spin in a 98-foot circle at a top speed of 43 mph. The entire park is visible from the top of the ride and at night “SkyScreamer” will be lit from top to bottom. www.sixflags.com/discoverykingdom
An image is available at www.iaapa.org/pressroom/WhatsNewImages2011.asp

Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, N.J., launches “Green Lantern,” a stand-up roller coaster. The two-minute, thirty-second ride begins with a 45-degree vertical drop before rocketing riders through five inversions, including a 121-foot-tall loop, a 103-foot dive loop, a 72-foot inclined loop, and twisted double corkscrews. “Green Lantern” stands 15 stories high is made of over three quarters of a mile of twisting green steel. www.sixflags.com/greatAdventure/index.aspx
Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, Calif., adds three roller coasters, bringing its total to 18. The new rides at Magic Mountain include: “Green Lantern,” a vertical-track, spinning coaster featuring three 360-degree head-over-heel spins; “Escape from Krypton,” which sends riders backward up a tower for 7 seconds at 100 mph; and a yet-to-be-named children’s coaster that is 679 feet long, with a 28-foot lift hill, and reaches speeds up to 21 mph. www.sixflags.com/magicMountain/index.aspx
Six Flags New England near Springfield, Mass., adds the steel roller coaster “Gotham City: Gauntlet Escape from Arkham Asylum,” bringing its coaster count to 10. Riders board the four-person cars and climb five stories; once at the top they are sent through a maze of 17 hairpin turns, winding twists and turns, and unexpected dips. www.sixflags.com/newEngland/index.aspx
“Dare Devil Ride” opens at Six Flags Over Georgia in Austell, Ga. The roller coaster features a vertical chain lift that pulls riders up 10 stories and a beyond-vertical drop where the coaster angles inward as it comes down at 52 mph. Riders careen through a combination of diving loops while executing three inversions before catching air on a zero-gravity hill, and swooping across a vertical U-turn stretched high above the ground. www.sixflags.com/overGeorgia/index.aspx

Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington, Texas, marks its 50th anniversary by bringing back a faster and steeper “Texas Giant.” The classic wooden coaster gets a $10 million makeover with a new track that allows for a steeper first drop, more severely banked turns, and faster speeds. Three new “Giant” trains resemble the DeVille, complete with their unique shape, metallic colors (aqua, black, and red), grilles, headlights, and tail lights. Throw in new tunnels, and “Texas Giant” looks and feels like a whole new ride. www.sixflags.com/overTexas/index.aspx

Six Flags St. Louis in Missouri introduces “SkyScreamer,” which towers 236 feet above the ground. Guests sit two across in an open-air swing as they climb to the top of the tower; at full swing they soar in a 98-foot circle at 43 mph. www.sixflags.com/stLouis/index.aspx

Valleyfair in Shakopee, Minn., introduces “Planet Snoopy!” Featuring 20 rides and attractions, this Peanuts-themed area provides fun for the whole family! For more information, please visit www.valleyfair.com.

Waldameer in Erie, Pa., expands and opens the North End where families enjoy “Flying Swings;” a flying carousel, “Wendy’s Tea Party;” a spinning tea cup ride, and the “SS Wally;” a rocking tug boat. Beautiful gardens, welcoming benches, an eight-foot tall water fountain and a twenty-foot arch provide a relaxing, carefree atmosphere. The Waldameer train features a new engine as well as wheelchair accessible coaches. www.waldameer.com
Worlds of Fun in Kansas City, Mo., unveils a restored carousel, a catering pavilion, and “Planet Snoopy.” Planet Snoopy is home to more than 20 rides, shows, and attractions, including a new balloontower ride, car and truck rides for children, and a spinning tugboat adventure for the family. www.worldsoffun.com
Invigorating and Relaxing Water Attractions:

Beech Bend Park in Bowling Green, Ky., adds “Tiki Island.” Visitors enjoy the four-story, interactive water tower which features seven slides and a giant tipping bucket. www.beechbend.com
Hurricane Harbor at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Ill., expands its waterpark with Riptide Bay that features a double-sided surf simulator, a Caribbean-inspired activity pool, additional waterslides, and luxury cabanas. www.sixflags.com/greatAmerica/index.aspx

“Splash Zoo,” opens inside Legoland Water Park in Carlsbad, Calif. The zoo-themed area features giant Duplo Zoo animals, including a lion, a giraffe, and a zebra. Children ages 1 to 3 will enjoy the interactive spray pads, fountains, and a teeter totter. http://california.legoland.com
Raging Waters San Jose in California debuts “Bombs Away.” Riders step into an enclosed capsule five stories above Raging Waters. A trap door opens, plummeting a single rider straight down 200 feet toward the ground for several seconds of free-falling thrills through an enclosed 360-degree looping flume. The translucent sections of track allow guests to watch their friends and family careen through the thrilling waterslide. www.rwsplash.com

Schlitterbahn Kansas City Waterpark in Kansas, adds six attractions, nearly doubling the physical size of the park. The additions include a surf ride, “Boogie Bahn”; two head-first mat slides, “Comal Express” and “Loopy Luge”; and a fully enclosed tube slide, “Der Bahn.” Guests can also ride “Blitz Falls,” a whitewater rapids tube chute, or “Rapids River,” a series of rushing rapids on the park’s longest river attraction. www.schlitterbahn.com/kc

SoakZone in Ligonier, Pa., unveils “Wowabunga Family Wavepool.” The 280,600-gallon wave pool features a zero-depth entry and reaches six feet at its deepest point. The pool experience includes waves for older guests to ride with intermittent periods of calm for kids play. Guests can also enjoy the beach-like surroundings, relax on the chaise lounges, or escape the sun in new cabanas. www.idlewild.com

SplashDown Beach Waterpark in Fishkill, N.Y. adds “Splash Works.” The Bob the Builder-themed 1,600-square-foot spray and play area is designed for children ages 1 to 5. It contains more than 50 interactive features, including two slides, tipping buckets, dancing water, and a tool shed play area. Bob the Builder also greets guests daily at the park. www.splashdownbeach.com

Story Land in Glen, N.H., debuts the family-friendly ride “Splash Battle Egypt.” Riders move continuously through a 300-foot long waterway in Egyptian-themed boats as they use cannons to blast water at other vessels. Shoreline guests can also exchange blasts with the riders from water cannons along the attraction’s perimeter. www.storylandnh.com

White Water in Branson, Mo., offers more than 12 acres of a tropical-themed river adventure at “Aloha River” at Hula Hula Bay. Guests float in tubes along more than 800 feet in 300,000 gallons of water, Aloha River at Hula Hula Bay is White Water’s longest ride. The area offers new seating options, plenty of shade, and more cabanas to enjoy. www.bransonwhitewater.com
WildWater Adventure Waterpark at Adventure Amusement Park in Muskegon, Mich., introduces a giant interactive water play attraction, “Beach Party.” It features a giant geyser, that blasts water more than 90 feet in the air. Guests enjoy more than 150 play features, including eight water slides, water jets, water curtains, pipe falls, and water wheels, they can drench one another with fire hose jets and interactive water guns. www.miadventure.com
A rendering is available at www.iaapa.org/pressroom/WhatsNewImages2011.asp.
Zoos and Aquariums Entertain and Teach:

Visitors to Air Zoo in Kalamazoo, Mich., enjoy a nine-hole disc golf course, which features nine par-three holes. Later this spring an additional nine holes will make it an 18-hole course. www.airzoo.org
“Dinosauria” opens at the Detroit Zoo in Detroit, Mich., and features 30 life-like animatronic dinosaurs. Visitors enter “Zoorassic Park” and wind along a three-acre “DinoTrail,” which recreates prehistoric life. Kids can experience what it’s like to be a paleontologist at a dino dig site or fossil sifting station. www.detroitzoo.org
An image is available at www.iaapa.org/pressroom/WhatsNewImages2011.asp.
Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, Ga., debuts “AT&T Dolphin Tales,” an 84,000-square-foot, two-story indoor expansion that includes interactive displays about conservation efforts, a viewing window, and auditorium. Visitors first encounter the dolphins through the 25-foot-long underwater viewing window on their way to the 1,800-seat state-of-the-art theater. In “AT&T Dolphin Tales” actors and dolphins take guests on an interactive journey across the oceans and create a greater understanding of dolphins. www.georgiaaquarium.org
The Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, Calif., transforms how guests view the oceans with “The Open Sea.” In this new gallery, guests experience new species such as tufted puffins, sandbar sharks, and black sea who nettles along with aquarium favorites such as tunas, stingrays, sea turtles, and the occasional great white shark. www.montereybayaquarium.org
Images are available at www.iaapa.org/pressroom/WhatsNewImages2011.asp.

Newport Aquarium in Newport, Ky., overhauls the “Kroger Kingdom of Penguins” exhibit. Guests enjoy new seating, expanded gallery space, new interactive elements, and a live show, while the penguins experience an improved habitat. www.newportaquarium.com

Sea Life Aquarium in Carlsbad, Calif., opens “Octopus Garden,” an interactive exhibit that introduces families to the amazing world of cephalopods. From octopus to cuttlefish and nautilus, these distinctive creatures amaze guests with their almost supernatural abilities, including camouflage, ink clouds, and jet propulsion. www.visitsealife.com/California
Other Attractions to Enjoy:

The Coney Island History Project opens two exhibition centers at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park in Coney Island, N.Y. Visitors view historic artifacts, photographs, maps, and films from Coney Island’s unique past. The steeplechase horse from the legendary ride that gave Steeplechase Park its name is among the treasures on display. In addition, guests enjoy a series of tours and special events. www.wonderwheel.com
“Encore!” and “Funny Fiddles” debut at Showboat Branson Belle in Branson, Mo. Janice Martin, the world’s only violin-playing aerialist, brings her high-flying skills to the stage for “Encore!” “Funny Fiddlers” features comedian and musician Chris Pendleton. www.showboatbransonbelle.com
The “SkyWheel” opens in Myrtle Beach, S.C. offering views of the Grand Strand beaches. Taller than the standard Ferris wheel, “SkyWheel” stands 175 feet tall with 42 glass-enclosed, temperature-controlled gondolas that hold six to eight people.
The Track Family Fun Park in Branson, Mo., celebrates 30 years with the addition of a 1,200-foot-long go-kart track, “Heavy Metal High Rise.” The state-of-the-art steel and concrete structure is more weather-friendly and offers a completely different experience than its wooden counterpart. Drivers spiral up four stories before zooming down a three-tiered slope. Guests can also enjoy a new road course-style track with tighter and higher-banked curves. www.bransontracks.com
About IAAPA
International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) is the premier trade association for the attractions industry worldwide. Founded more than 90 years ago, IAAPA is the largest international trade association for permanently situated amusement facilities and attractions and is dedicated to the preservation and prosperity of the amusement industry.IAAPA represents more than 4,000 attraction, supplier, and individual members from more than 90 countries. The association’s global headquarters is in Alexandria, Virginia, United States. The association maintains regional offices in Brussels, Mexico City, and Hong Kong. IAAPA is online at www.IAAPA.org.

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Empire Industries Announces $9 Million Contract for Amusement Park Ride upgrade

Friday, April 8th, 2011 | Permalink

empind.com

WINNIPEG, March 17, 2011 – Empire Industries Ltd. (TSX-V: EIL) today announced that its Dynamic Structures business unit has been awarded a contract valued at approximately $9 million for the upgrade of track subsystems of a ride at a major North American amusement park. The contract, which includes design, engineering, fabrication, and assembly phases, will be executed through 2011 and 2012.

“Dynamic Structures is a world leader in this sort of work.” said David Halliday, President of the Dynamic Structures business unit. “It requires very specialized engineering expertise and high tolerance fabrication. There are very few companies in the world who can meet the strict quality control requirements that this work demands.”

Guy Nelson, Chief Executive Officer of Empire Industries, added “We are gratified to see that our commitment to this market is paying off. With this contract in hand, a healthy backlog, and a very strong bid book in the pipeline, we are optimistic that we are seeing the beginning of rapid growth in this highly specialized, global export market that Dynamic Structures is a leader in.”

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Launch of Japan’s First Speed Reducers with Highly Efficient Motor

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010 | Permalink

www.shi.co.jp

The problem of global warming is becoming serious, leading to an emphasis on the need for further action to conserve energy. Regulations regarding the efficiency of motors are being enhanced by international standards in a phased manner, primarily in Europe and the United States. Also some countries prohibit the sale of motors with an energy loss that exceeds 25%. Similar regulations are also currently being considered in Japan.

Speed reducers with a motor are used in a broad range of applications, such as the drive source for a variety of machinery in general industrial machinery, environmental machinery, water and sewer facilities, food processing machinery, amusement park machinery and welfare related equipment, to name a few. In the manufacturing industry in particular, about 70% or more of the electricity consumed in manufacturing plants is used to power motors. To increase the efficiency of the motor, which is the driving component, is an essential undertaking for reducing energy consumption.

The soon to be launched speed reducers with a highly efficient motor are the result of a thorough review of energy loss in the core section of motors. As a consequence, we succeeded in reducing energy losses by an average of about 10% in terms of power supply specifications, not only for Japan but for other countries around the world. We also reviewed the costs and were able to achieve a reduction in costs by an average of about 25% in the motor component. Highly efficient motors, unlike standard motors, require more initial investment. Since reductions to the running costs are likely through energy savings, it is possible to recover additional costs in a short period of time, depending on the usage conditions.

We intend to provide our new speed reducers with a highly efficient motor, which we recently developed in response to the needs of our customers, through the enhancement of sales in various industrial fields within and outside Japan.

Features
1. Cleared requirements for Class IE2 of the IEC-60034-30 standard of the International Electrotechnical Commission.
A performance that satisfies the regulations of countries around the world was achieved by clearing the efficiency standard for Class IE2 of IEC-60034-30, which is the global standard for high efficiency motors in the future.
2. Acquired high efficiency certification based on the Korean KS Standard.
The Korean Government is currently considering the implementation of a “Regulation for the Efficiency of Motors”, ahead of Europe and other regions, where such enforcement is also being considered for the future. We were successful as the first motor manufacturer from Japan to acquire certification for this standard.
3. A massive reduction in price was implemented, with the aim of promoting popularization.
We were not only concerned about complying with regulations but we also aimed to popularize these products by implementing a massive reduction in price, in order to contribute towards the prevention of global warming in the future.

Example cost recovery for investment through lower running costs
(Example) The difference in price between a standard 2.2 kW motor and a highly efficient motor: JPY11,000.
The difference in efficiency between a standard motor and a highly efficient motor: Approximately 4%, based on 10 hour of operation per day, operating for 300 days per year.
Calculated with a cost unit of JPY16 per 1 kWh, the recovery for higher investment costs can be completed in about two years, through lower running costs.

Equipment configuration
Motor output: 0.75 kW to 30 kW, four-pole.

Principal applications
Logistics and distribution machinery, environmental machinery, water and sewer facilities, general industrial machinery, food processing machinery, agricultural machinery, amusement park machinery, welfare related equipment, as well as other automation machinery, which use three-phase power sources.

Price
(Product pricing example) For a Cyclo Speed Reducer with a 0.75 kW power consumption and a speed reducing ratio of 15:
(New product) Highly efficient motor specification: JPY64,800 (consumption tax excluded).
(Existing product) Highly efficient motor specification: JPY72,400 (consumption tax excluded).

Sales target
5,000 units per year (for FY2010).

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3D/4D Theatre : theHouse, the first-ever 5D interactive haunted house, has opened its doors in Branson, Missouri

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010 | Permalink

Source:  blooloop.com

Situated in Branson, Missouri (the ‘Show-Me State’), the Castle of Chaos has opened its doors in a new building next to the Hollywood Wax Museum on the ‘Strip’. For 50 years, Branson has been a major tourist and cultural city in the center of the U.S. with more than 100 shows and attractions that pull in over six million visitors each year.

“The attraction developed by Alterface is notable for its novelty and for being so ambitious,” says Kuvera Attractions Partner Tej Sundher. “The merging of an interactive game in a haunted house, with genuine video film and 3D images, special effects, animatronics and the rotating platform is a unique achievement. All our visitors are highly impressed. The opinions we gathered from the first visitors in an exit satisfaction survey make it clear. They love it!”

An experience full of emotions

Immersed in the story of Carli Winepeg, who mysteriously disappeared with her whole team in a medieval castle during shooting of a horror movie in the 1920s in Belgium, the players face surprise after surprise. It all starts in the room’s entrance, which is completely decorated, dimly lit and misty. Once in their themed seats, the players are welcomed by the voice of Stan Kablowski – who shipped the castle to the U.S. The eccentric old billionaire, who is obsessed with Carli, has a mission for them. Discover the origin of the strange things happening there and make them stop! But the mistress of the house quickly takes control of the situation, throwing the intrepid players into a furious battle for control of the castle.

In total darkness, the impressive rotating platform leads visitors from one screen to another. The 3D images, all in high definition and back-projected, create the illusion that new rooms are opening in front of the players and that the zombies and other creatures are about to enter the room. Some actually do: flies buzz around the room, a dog leaps through a door, bats emerge from the ceiling, a body bound in chains writhes around on a wall, statues start to mutate, and so on.

The seats themselves are packed with effects. They vibrate, bend, and tickle people’s heels and necks. Out of the walls and ceiling come lightning, rain and wind from the storm that is rumbling outside. Foul smells are released when the frightful face of Carli appears in the dark, some three meters (nine feet) high. In the final scene, the cursed actress chases the intruders away by destroying the castle!

An interactive game

Armed with a revolver, visitors take part in the story and can see the impacts of their shots on screen. Insects crawling on the ground explode, candle flames flicker, parts of the decor wobble, and ghosts are freed from the urns that have held them prisoner. Each target hit scores points for the players. When the adventure is over, everyone can see their own score displayed next to their photo! The highest scorers are highlighted in 3D. But this is not the only time players can see themselves on screen. During the show, zombies take photos of the room and these appear enlarged on screen. At that very moment, a trail of blood covers the screen and water is squirted on the players… Emotions run high, for sure! And there are other emotions to be experienced, which are just as impressive.

A new kind of attraction

“The market for haunted houses is huge in the United States and not only over the Halloween period. Thousands of attractions are based on this theme,” says Benoît Cornet, CEO of Alterface. “With theHouse, Alterface sets a new standard in this sector by introducing its recognized and proven interactive technology. In a single room with just limited floor space, it’s now possible to create a whole world of games and thrills for theme parks and entertainment centers.”

Based on the same content, theHouse is also available as a Drak Ride, cart-based or even as a pedestrian walk through Dark Ride thanks to Alterface’s exclusive lightweight and compact Wireless technology.

Key features:

– Surface area of less than 200 square meters (2,150 sq.ft);
– Up to 300 players/hour;
– High-definition 3D images back-projected;
– 10 special effects in the room and on the seats;
– 11 loudspeakers and 9 amplifiers, to create a genuine three-dimensional soundtrack too;
– Music composed by a pianist, to accompany the projection of silent films shown at the famous Cinematek in Brussels;
– The very latest Projectiondesign projectors;
– A platform with a circumference of 8 meters (26 ft), turned by 10 motors, weighing 8 tons (17,637 lb) and able to move at up to 15 revolutions/minute.
– An official site is now online: http://castleofchaosbranson.com
– The video on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhKTSgrwo-A
– Film shoot that involved top professionals in the sector from Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands, assembled in a real medieval castle in Thy-le-Château in Belgium

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